Cain Hegarty and Katherine Toms will be examining more than 15,000 aerial images of Exmoor. Cain suggests the research could double the number of sites currently on the Sites and Monuments Record... continues...
A stone row of 50 standing stones, located on the west-facing slopes of Honeycombe Hill. There is no evidence for a barrow or cairn at either end. It was previously alleged to represent the remains of a dilapidated field wall.
Saw this on the O/S map and thought I would check it out as I was heading north towards Porlock stone circle.
It can be found off the B3223 just south of Exford.
There is plenty of room to park at the entrance to a Room Hill reservoir building and the Barrow can be seen from the field gate.
A quick walk across the field and you are there. No public right of access but as no one was about.....................
The Barrow has been well mangled and now only stands about 1 metre high and about 20 metres across. By far the most interesting feature are the 4 stones which stand proud of the Barrow forming a semi-circle. Presumably these are the remains of the retaining stones which once supported the Barrow? Each stone is of a similar size – about 1 foot square. An unexpected bonus. Good views are also to be had.
Near the Barrow is a strange brick building with no door or window. Access is via a metal hatch in the roof. No idea what it is for – perhaps something to do with the reservoir? There is a trig point near the building.
The stones make this Barrow worth a visit when in this part of Exmoor.
I was particularly looking forward to visiting this site as it is not every day you get a chance to visit a new stone circle
The weather had been fantastic and I was looking forward to watching the sun go down from a stone circle – something I had never done before. That was the plan anyway!
We drove up, we drove down. We drove up again and down again. All the while the light fading as the sun finally set on the horizon. Still no sign of the circle.
What was throwing us is that the O/S map shows the stones next to a sheep fold and previous notes also refer to a sheep fold. The sheep fold is no longer there!
We eventually found the circle by stopping at every field gate and (ignoring the no entry signs) having a look around in the field.
This is the best advice I can give for anyone looking for the circle:
The circle is close to the road but you obviously need to find the right field gate. Travelling north the circle is on the left. Keep an eye out for a small brick bridge that the road goes over (over a small stream). The field gate you need is the one just before the bridge. Once you have the right gate access is easy!
The circle is visible from the gate but it is no effort to climb over it – no barbed wire!
Probably due to frustration in finding the thing (plus the fact that I had missed the sunset) I was a little disappointed with this stone circle. There were only 3 or 4 stones of any size (about 2 feet high) – the rest were very small and quite loose in the soil. They were easily moved with one hand and could have been easily pulled out of the ground if someone had wanted to. The larger stones were earth fast. The smaller stones also looked completely different to the larger stones. Why have such discrepancies in stone size? It does make me wonder if the smaller stones have been added later to perhaps show where the original larger stones once stood? They were so shallow in the ground I don’t see how they could have stood for thousands of years! The largest stone is a fallen one – about 4ft long.
I am glad I found the circle but all in all a bit of a disappointment.
Directions: Just north of the B3224 - east out of Wheddon Cross
There is room to park next to the field gate / public footpath sign.
Karen sat in the car reading her book whilst I carried Sophie and Dafydd trooped behind us. We went through the gate and walked along the snow covered grass, heading uphill towards the Barrows. I pointed out to Dafydd some fox (I think) prints in the snow and various other animal prints. Dafydd insisted in examining these prints very carefully and following them towards the hedgerow. I told him to be careful not to slip. Needless to say he slipped onto his bum and slid down the bank – much to the amusement of Sophie who chuckled away like a good ‘un. Sisters – eh?
There are 3 Barrows on the summit of the hill. It is only the top of the nearest Barrow that you can see from the field gate. As you reach the top of the hill the other two appear into view. There is a trig point on the smallest of the Barrows. The Barrows are surrounded by fences to help protect them – which is obviously a good thing. The smaller of the Barrows is about 1 metre high; the other two are about two metres high. The largest Barrow is about 15 metres across.
On the way back to the car Dafydd decided to go ‘ice skating’ on a frozen puddle. Needless to say it wasn’t long before he slipped over again. Sophie chuckled.
It was a beautiful winter’s day – blue sky, not a cloud in sight and no wind. The ground was hard with frost and patches of snow scattered about the fields.
You could see for miles all around. Well worth a visit when in the area.
There is a public footpath which runs right past the Barrows so trespassing is not required – for a change!
After visiting ‘Snowdrop Valley’ and enjoying an excellent cream tea in the rather posh tea rooms in Wheddon Cross it was time for a bit of ‘old stoning’ before it got dark.
First up was a site I had wanted to visit for a number of years – the Caratacus Stone.
It was easy enough to find; being near the road and sign posted.
I was just about able to make out the Latin inscription but if I wasn’t specifically looking for it I wouldn’t have known it was there. The stone is about 1 metre tall.
The area around the stone has an obvious gorse problem and I am pleased to report that a large amount of ‘de-gorsing’ is taking place. There were whole swathes of recently cut down gorse piled up, making access a lot easier. If left to nature I guess it wouldn’t take too many years before it would be impossible to see the stone!
Very easy site to access – large N.T. parking area. The 3 Barrows are right next to the road / parking area.
It is only a 2 minute walk from the car park – through knee height heather.
This is a stunning setting with fantastic views in all directions. You can see for miles and miles and miles…………………………..
Although it was a beautiful day it was starting to get colder. Karen, Dafydd and Sophie stayed in the car while I tramped through the heather. It must have been getting cold as my pen stopped working until I warmed it up!
The largest of the Barrows (furthest from car park) is covered in heather but didn’t look like it had been dug into - although it was hard to say with all the heather.
The other two Barrows were much more defined although both had clearly been dug into – no doubt someone looking for treasure!!
The two smaller Barrows are approximately 20 metres across – the largest 30 metres across. All 3 Barrows are about 2 metres high. There is a trig point on one of the smaller Barrows.
The views really are something.
Well worth visiting when in the area.
Just south of the B3224 - east out of Wheddon Cross.
I parked in the convenient car park opposite (Kennisham Forestry Commission).
I then crossed over the road and walked south down the lane past the Goosemoor Cross – situated at the cross roads.
A short distance down the lane you come to a metal field gate on your left.
The Barrow is easily visible from the gate.
I hopped over the gate and walked over to the Barrow. It is approximately 1 metre high and 20 metres across. The western section being cut through by a hedgerow.
I startled a bird of prey that flew effortlessly up into the deep blue sky – a lovely sight. There is not much else I can add about the Barrow except to say that other than the bit damaged by the hedgerow it seems to be in pretty good condition.
A winding, up-hill lane conducts us in about two miles to the first genuine piece of moorland - Winsford Hill. Between the finger-post marking the cross-roads and the hedge on the right, and at the side of an old track -- I believe the former highway -- is a rude standing stone of hard slaty rock, known as the Longstone. It leans considerably out of the perpendicular, and has met with rough usage, a portion of the top having been broken off. The height is 3 feet 7 inches, the breadth 14 inches, and the thickness 7 inches. It is inscribed lengthwise with characters, but of what age or date I am unable to decide. That they have been there for many centuries, there can, I think, be no doubt, their worn appearance testifying to many an onslaught of the elements. The aforesaid fracture, the work of a mischievous youth but a few months back, has probably obliterated a part of the second line, and although I was able to find the splintered fragment, and fit it into its place, it availed me not, as the surface had flaked off. I read the inscription thus: CVRAACI FPVS. The first word apprently stands for '(son) of Curatacus,' evidently the Latinized form of some British name. This is the only interpretation I can offer. The local legend says that it marks a deposit of treasure; but it is somewhat strange that there are no traces about the stone indicating that a search has been made.
From 'An exploration of Exmoor and the hill country of West Somerset' by John Lloyd Warden Page (1890).